I haven't changed much in the 28 years I've been alive. Both physically and mentally, my core makeup is relatively the same. My interests and hobbies, likes and dislikes, strengths and weakness, all remain consistent. I may have strengthened my weaknesses and improved upon my strengths, but they still share the same titles relative to each other. Which is funny, because when I ask myself "What is it that God put you here for?", I still don't know. Did He put me here to write? To be compassionate? To invent something? You'd think after this long and so much consistency, I'd know exactly what direction God was pointing me in.
If your aren't sure of your purpose (like me), most believers will tell you to pray and assert that God will reveal His purpose for you. I don't doubt that He will, but I do doubt the simplicity. Just because you pray tonight for His revelation, doesn't mean you'll wake up tomorrow knowing your purpose. Think about it, Noah's purpose was to build an ark and continue the existence of the human race, but he didn't receive that instruction until he was almost 600 years old!
If the time has not yet come for us carry out our purpose, why would God reveal it to us? God didn't tell Noah on his 21st birthday that half a millennium later he'd be building an ark. So what are we supposed to do when we feel purposeless and unsure of where we're going?
I've been in graduate school pursuing a PhD for 6 years now, and there are many days when I come home thinking maybe this isn't what God wants for me and maybe it isn't in His Will for me to have this. I won't know until I cross (or don't cross) the stage, but what I do know is that every step toward the degree has brought me closer to Him and that has to be in His plan.
When I left high school, I was in a frozen state; I had locked my emotions in a box to avoid the subtle racism, isolation, and overall ickiness of high school.
I was on a mission to get out of my hometown, away from my home state, and on with life. College saw me through carefree times. I wasn't thinking so far in the future; I took the time to enjoy the people around me and emotionally, was a complete 180 of my high school self. My first 2 years in graduate school hit me like a brick. Even though graduate school isn't considered "the real world" by many, it snapped me into reality. I couldn't hide behind apathy the way I did in high school or not worry about anything the way I did in college.
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
Graduate school gave me the time to really find the person God created me to be, even if I haven't figured out what to do with that self. From physical health to spiritual health, even to mental health, I've had the opportunity to really expand my horizon.
I stopped relaxing my hair (which required the use of chemicals—toxic chemicals—for those unfamiliar with the process) and embraced the hair God gave me. The learning curve for natural hair care is pretty steep in the Black community; my detangling routine clocked in at 2 hours initially and has since shrank to half an hour. Then there's figuring out how often I needed to wash my hair, how to style it, or soothe bad hair days... It's not something you become comfortable with overnight. Luckily, I didn't have to be on campus until 11am, which gave me plenty of time to wash my hair in the middle of the week. Florida is hot, so I could wash my hair at virtually any time of the day, year-round, and after thirty minutes have socially acceptable hair (it wouldn't be dry, but it wouldn't be visibly wet either). I couldn't have made this switch so easily in the corporate world.
The summer after I started graduate school, my advisor jetted off to another country and left me virtually no work. This is horrible for progress (and why I'm still in graduate school), but it was great for my relationship with God. I spent the entire summer reading and studying doctrine. I got answers to questions I had been asking since elementary school. I began weeding out pagan practices of the church from my life and I started to spend more time studying God's Word as opposed to simply reading it. Without this "free" summer, I never would have started moving in this direction.
I tell you all of this to show that despite me having no idea where I was being taken, God was clearly steering me toward Him. I may not have found my purpose, but it is evident that God is preparing me to be able to handle whatever that purpose is. When I feel that I have failed or become doubtful, I have to remember that God will prepare me for the tasks He has for me and He will not let me miss what He has put me here for. Do you think God would have let Noah sit around wondering what he should do to the point Noah didn't build the ark? No. Noah kept his relationship with God strong and when the time came, God made it obvious that Noah was to build the ark. The same is true for each of us. We may be given a purpose at 12 years old, or at 22, or 32, may be not until 62, but know that we each have a purpose. Perhaps our purpose is to effect someone else. Perhaps it is to save our fellow believers when they are in harms way, like Rahab. Perhaps our purpose is big and loud, like Noah or Paul. Or perhaps our purpose is small and subtle like Naaman or the woman who touched Jesus' hem. Whatever the purpose may be, know that when your time comes, you will know.